Image taken by: Bimal Mirwani
Harsha Bhogle, the renowned cricket commentator, has suggested that Pakistan pick Abdullah Shafique as one of their openers for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup in India.
Shafique has mostly been utilised as a Test opener in his international career and has done well in the longest format, having accumulated 1,220 runs in 14 matches, which includes four centuries and four fifties, at an average of 50.83.
Having only played four ODIs to date, there may be concerns about whether the 23-year-old from Sialkot is experienced enough to be selected for a major event like the World Cup.
However, Bhogle seems to think that the gamble might be worth it, especially after his valiant innings of 52, which was his highest score in ODIs, in Pakistan’s must-win Asia Cup match against Sri Lanka.
“Sometimes you stumble onto the right decision. Pakistan may well have found the right opener for the World Cup in Abdullah Shafique,” he said on Twitter.
In the two-Test series against Sri Lanka, Shafique scored 228 runs, which included a career-best knock of 201, at an average of 76.
He didn’t feature in the three-match ODI series against Afghanistan and he only featured in the match against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup.
Pakistan started the tournament with a 238-run win over Nepal before sharing one point apiece with India as their match was rained off.
Having made it through to the Super Fours, the men in green maintained their momentum with a seven-wicket win over Bangladesh.
Things didn’t go well for them after this as they lost to India by 228 runs and Sri Lanka by two wickets via the Duckworth–Lewis–Stern method (DLS) method, which led to them missing out on a spot in the final and being eliminated from the Asia Cup.
Pakistan Squad for 2023 Asia Cup: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Haris (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shahnawaz Dahani, Zaman Khan.
Travelling reserve: Tayyab Tahir